Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Brantley Ranked 31st in MLB Network's Top 100 Players Right Now

we are very close to the first game action of Spring Training 2016. in the meantime, MLB Network has been revealing their annual list of "Top 100 Players Right Now." Greg Amsinger, Bill Ripken, and Ron Darling played hosts to counting down the Top 100 current major league baseball players going into the 2016 season. this was done in 5 one-hour episodes, announcing 20 players per show, over 3 days from February 23-25. tonight, on February 24 at 10 pm ET, the 4th segment of the 5-part series aired.

photo courtesy of @MLBNetwork on twitter

the Top 100 players list is created based on player performances from the past 3 seasons (2013-2015), with a heavy weight on the most recent. additional factors used to compile these rankings include projected player performance for 2016, defensive position, individual accolades, and the intangibles a player brings to the game (such as team leadership).

Michael Brantley made his debut on this list last season, when he was ranked as the 21st best player in baseball. he undoubtedly had a stronger set of numbers input into the criteria this year as opposed to last year since his 2012 season was excluded. it looks really good on his past 3-years resume that he's now had 2 above average seasons in a row--something many pessimists did not think would be possible for Michael.

despite that, and despite the fact that not even one month ago, Michael was named the best left fielder in the game according to MLB Network's The Shredder, i expected Michael to fall somewhere between the #40-21 portion of the countdown. truthfully, i anticipated he would be somewhere in the mid-20s. why? simply because his 2015 season was not as strong as his All Star year in 2014.

so when it was finally revealed that Michael was ranked as the 31st best player in the majors right now, i was a bit disappointed with that. they said he was the highest ranked left fielder on the list, which i would hope considering he's the #1 left fielder overall. but i just didn't see a 10 spot drop for Michael coming.

he faced challenges in 2015 that most other ballplayers did not, in that he had to figure out a way to play ball and still be productive even though he was battling injuries from day 1 of spring training. he put up numbers while playing hurt that some players can't even reach when they're playing healthy. in that regard, i am extremely proud of Michael, but still believe his placement on this list should have cracked the Top 30. and for the record, i absolutely don't agree with every player in the Top 30. which brings me to my next topic of discussion.

like i always say, this list is subject for debate. you really can't rank a total of 100 players without opening yourself up to some criticism. i normally complain that comparing position players and pitchers with each other is not a fair comparison. (and it seemingly puts a player like Michael at an almost automatic disadvantage.) it's pretty clear that all inclusive lists like this can have a tendency to favor good pitching over good offense (excluding power hitters). and when you also compare players in both the American League and National League, well, that's a lot of competition and talent to rank, and some guys will be left out. therefore, the Top 100 is quite debatable and most assuredly will not please everybody.

baseball fans may want to argue, like some did when Michael was ranked the best left fielder, that he shouldn't have even been ranked this high because of his current health status. yes, Michael appears to be healing quickly from his right shoulder surgery in November, but how much he'll actually end up playing and how well he'll do in 2016 remain questionable right now. so while i understand the hesitancy to assume we will see a normal and healthy Michael in the upcoming season, i have full faith that when he does return to game action, he'll be his regular dominant self.

Cleveland fans should be excited about the overall list because Michael was not the lone Indians player to place on it. the 4 other Indians in the Top 100 this year are:
Carlos Carrasco at #74 (Top 100 debut),
Jason Kipnis at #52 (not ranked last year, #70 in 2014),
Francisco Lindor at #42 (debut), and
Corey Kluber at #30 (down from #15 last year).

congratulations to Michael and the rest of the Indians who made the Top 100, and let's have ourselves a kickass 2016 season!

for a complete list of the Top 100 Players Right Now, click here.

think there was an Indians player or any other player who should have made the list, but didn't? let me know in the comments below!

and if you're a new reader of my blog, give me a follow on twitter @clevelandgirl23 for all the latest Michael Brantley news!

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